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Ricketts says Cubs “working day and night to put together a championship organization”

Thursday, Oct 11, 2012

* Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts penned an op-ed for the Sun-Times

Well, the baseball season of 2012 is in the books. It was a disappointing season, but I hope fans understand there are better days ahead. We bought this team because we are committed to delivering Cubs fans the World Series championship they deserve. We believe this season represents the first step to delivering on that promise.

Baseball Operations President Theo Epstein, General Manager Jed Hoyer and the entire Cubs organization are working day and night to put together a championship organization — from A-ball to the major league club. We are building the team toward a future of sustained success with a youth movement. We are investing in our player development system, both in terms of talent and facilities. We are building a nucleus of solid young players to perform around shortstop Starlin Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

Have at it.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 10:25 am:

    Theo won’t be able to overpay for draft picks like he did in Boston.

    Not many pitching prospects in the Cubs Or-gan-I-zation. The one they got from Atlanta just had Tommy John surgery.

    2015 until the Cubs can contend for the division again? meantime, I want to see what Rick Hahn can do for my White Sox.

  2. - Wensicia - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 10:26 am:


  3. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 10:29 am:

    I didn’t know the season was over yet, my team’s still playing.

  4. - walkinfool - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 10:31 am:

    Building the organization from the bottom up, for sustained success, would take a minimum of five years. Let’s see if they’re really in it for the long haul.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 10:33 am:

    ===We bought this team because we are committed to delivering Cubs fans the World Series championship they deserve.===

    From the University of Chicago Magazine …

    “But before that, Tom had to convince his family, especially his father, Joe, that baseball was a good investment. He started dropping hints, bringing it up in conversation. Then he went for a little showmanship.

    In August 2006 the Ricketts family rented several rooftops across from Wrigley Field to hold a birthday extravaganza for Tom, Todd, and Laura. Pete’s wife had thrown him a 40th birthday party on a rooftop, and Joe, not a big baseball fan, loved it and wanted to do it again.

    This time Tom mixed charm with cold numbers as they looked toward a full house at Wrigley Field. “Tom said, ‘Dad look at this,’” Pete recounted. “And Dad said, ‘It’s a nice field.’ Tom said, ‘Dad, they sell out every game.’ And Dad realized, ‘Oh, this is a business.’””

    You keep saying things Tom, but Dad Ricketts wants his money.

    THAT is what is going on. Day and Night. Banking and Non-Banking hours.

    BTW, tell Dad Ricketts, stop aggrivating Rahm.

    Your Pal,

    Oswego Willy

  6. - Holdingontomywallet - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 10:34 am:

    Why is it “disappointing”? I’m a Cardinals fan. It’s all good, Cards still playing and the Cubs lost 101 games!

  7. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 10:35 am:

    Let’s see: it took losing 101 games to figure out that, out of 25 men on the roster, 2 are worth keeping. Brian LaHair made the All Star team based on his good start but by August was platooning because he can’t hit left handers. Wellington Castillo is the next Goevany Soto, a mediocre catcher who at least doesn’t hurt the team too much. Garza and Samardjilza (or however you spell it) are two decent pitchers. So that means they just need to find about 19 or 20 more players next year.

    I think we can set the over/under on 2013 Cubs losses at 96. Smart money is on the over.

    Wake me up in 2014.

  8. - soccermom - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 10:36 am:

    Gosh, how would the Cubs have fared if the Ricketts family had just been working 9-5, M-F?

  9. - I'm Just Saying - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 10:40 am:

    This is interesting, I think it’s great that the Cubs are putting up a Mil and Kerry Wood, too, but the city putting up 3.4 for this???

    Clark Park Scores TIF Assistance for New Baseball Stadium
    North Center’s Clark Park will receive $1.3 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the construction of a baseball stadium under a financial plan approved today by City Council.
    The stadium will be built on vacant land at 3400 N. Rockwell Ave. through a partnership between the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Cubs. Featuring a covered, masonry grandstand, the $5.2 million facility will serve as the home field for nearby Lane Tech High School and be made available for other users.
    In addition to TIF, funding will include $1 million from the Cubs and $1 million from Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood’s Wood Family Foundation. The remainder will come from the Park District and Chicago Public Schools.

  10. - anon - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 10:46 am:

    Funny, i thought he was working night and day to unelect President Barack Obama!

  11. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 10:52 am:

    I’m confused by the first paragraph: Was it “a disappointing season” or “the first step” to delivering on a World Series? It can’t be both, can it?

    Anyway, this is all about softening up the ground for a Wrigley deal after the election. Remember, the one Rahm said was in the final stages before the Joe Ricketts blowup in the NYT?

    Most of the column deals not with baseball, but with the Cubs spending money on worthy causes in the city.

    They’re good corporate citizens, see? How about a little something for the effort?

    The Cubs drew nearly 2.9 million — 87% of capacity — for a historically bad team. (That’s almost a million more than the Sox, who were in first most of the year).

    How about a ticket surcharge to float some paper to fix up Wrigley? Or, if you can’t hack it on your own, sell a piece of the team to raise capital?

    Happens in business all the time.

  12. - @all - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 10:54 am:

    “Having the power of the Internet … is a good way to get the message across on what we have to do for the public,” he said.
    Responding to the op-ed Quinn said,

    “We want to give them what is in store if things aren’t done right. I think this will better channel public sentiment and energy into a common movement. We have to do that here.”

  13. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 10:59 am:

    They have said that since 1907

  14. - StayFree75 - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 11:35 am:

    Javier Baez and Jorge Soler are going to help quite a bit in 2015

  15. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 11:38 am:

    As a Red Sox fan, I love Theo Epstein. He helped bring two titles to Beantown. From what I’ve read, it looks as though the Sox ownership pushed Theo to sign players like Jon Lackey and Carl Crawford. If the Ricketts don’t push Theo to spend crazy money like Jon Henry and Larry Lucchino did in Boston, Theo can do his job and may actually strike gold by signing some key free agents for decent prices and convince them to commit to the plan of action in Boston: bringing a championship to a franchise that is starving.

  16. - Brendan - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 11:39 am:

    Beldar Conehead: “Uh-huh. And let me know when Elvis gets here.”

  17. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 11:53 am:

    –As a Red Sox fan, I love Theo Epstein. He helped bring two titles to Beantown.–

    Manny’s, Big Papi’s and probably some others health supplement regimen didn’t hurt, either.

  18. - anon sequitor - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 12:34 pm:

    At least the Cubs didn’t break our hearts at the end of the 2012 season like that “other” team did. The Cubs were bad all year.

  19. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 12:46 pm:

    Shouldn’t this entry have been part of the Question of the Day/Shaming entry?

    We’re rooting for a team that hasn’t won in more than 100 years and won’t win for another century!

  20. - Shore - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 12:57 pm:

    Considering the ricketts are north shore republican cub fans myself with a distaste for the current occupant of the white house I expected to like them, but I now rank them with mike mccaskey in terms of dislike owners. I think they’re incredibly selfish and hypocritical to ask for public assistance for wrigley and this team. The younger owner who is on tv all the time to me is the worst caricature of the stereotype of north shore people and I’m just not a fan of them.

    they lucked into theo and the cardinals performance this year minus 2 of the all time greats in la russa and pujols suggests to me this is going to be harder than they realize.

  21. - Ace Matson - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 1:15 pm:

    I’ve seen it often in business and in law: when a young ‘phenom’ like Theo has a great early success, people think he must be a genius and can do it again because he’s smarter than everyone else. But most of the time the young person’s early success is just luck, and they are not that much brighter than everyone else. We’ve been here before - wasn’t Lou Pinella’s demonstrated brilliance finally going to cure the Cubs? How did that turn out?

  22. - Wait til Next year! - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 1:47 pm:

    Really..That’s all i got… Wait till next year…We are perpetually going to lose… Curse you Goat!

  23. - go sox - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 1:56 pm:

    who cares about cubs i love white sox go good team LOL

  24. - capncrunch - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 2:03 pm:

    “They have said that since 1907″

    Right, and they haven’t done all that well since they moved into their new ball park.

  25. - just asking - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 2:08 pm:

    Does Tommy boy know that the class A players aren’t the ones who are supposed to play the National League teams?

  26. - Judgment Day - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 2:15 pm:

    Under the prior leadership ‘team’, the Cubs had a shaky talent pipeline - probably at best running in the mid 20’s of all the minor league organizations.

    Theo & Team has put the Cubs on a definite upward trajectory with their minor league system, and in one year. According to BA (Baseball America) and just about everybody else, they are now a low teens minor league system, with the majority of the talent in the High A and lower levels. And it’s considered to be pretty impressive talent.

    Theo, Jeb Hoyer, and team does have a plan. Will the Cubs be bad again in 2013 - book it. But the Cubs are slowly but surely building a minor league wave of talent that is getting noticed.

    Contrast that to the South Side. This year they were classic overachievers, and if you look at their minor league system, it is arguably (see BA and other folks who watch the minor league systems) one of the bottom five systems in all of baseball, if not the worst system.

    The good news for the Southside is that Rick Hahn is really likely to be a top shelf GM, which they are going to need being that Kenny Williams stripped the White Sox minor league organization of up-and-coming talent.

    The Cubs, having a bad year also have the #2 pick in the draft, and more importantly, the ’slot money’ that goes with the #2 pick. And there’s 3 pretty good pitchers set for the 2013 draft (RHP Ryan Stanek, Arkansas [Junior]; LHP Sean Manaea, Indiana State [Junior]; & RHP Mark Appel, Stanford [Senior]), and the Cubs pick #2 behind Houston, so they have sufficient cash to make the signing - plus more.

    The Cubs will be successful, but it’s probably in the 2014, or more likely the 2015 time frame.

    It’s going to be interesting to see the trajectory of both Chicago MLB teams over the next several years.

  27. - Ghost of John Brown - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 2:15 pm:

    I have a picture in my mind of two guys digging ditches, working themselves into a sweat……but just throwing the dirt in each other’s ditch.

    Just because you are working hard, it doesn’t mean you are making any progress.

  28. - Judgment Day - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 2:24 pm:

    “Does Tommy boy know that the class A players aren’t the ones who are supposed to play the National League teams?”

    Yes, they do. But it’s not just about being good today - it’s about where you want to be in 2-3 years from now. And btw, why do you think that the Cubs just moved their Low A team from Peoria to Kane County? The Cubs under Tom Ricketts have a plan - and it looks to be a pretty good one.

    Time will tell.

  29. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 2:58 pm:

    JD, there’s no one right way to the World Series.

    Kenny’s mix of trades, free agents and homegrown talent is not the only way — but it’s the only way that’s produced a Chicago World Series winner in about 200 baseball seasons.

    I wouldn’t get too excited about the farm systems. They have a role, but they funnel very few players to the bigs. It’s still a wheeler-dealers league.

    Put it this way: Theo’s 2004 WS team had one Boston farmhand among the regulars in Varitek. In 2007, it was Varitek, Youk and Pedroia. The rest came from trades and FA signings.

  30. - Judgment Day - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 3:13 pm:

    Agreed on part of your post. There is indeed more than one way to get to the WS.

    But, talent for the major leagues still mostly (probably 95%) comes from the minor league systems. Very few players just bypass the minors & jump to the major leagues. All those trades normally require an exchange of talent. And having a stocked minor league system is pretty much the key to getting trades made.

    And your point about FA signings is valid for the past, but with the new, considerably harder salary caps (penalties) in MLB, we’re even seeing teams like the NYY having 2nd and even 3rd thoughts about expanding payroll through Free Agency. When the Yankees are even talking about payroll cutbacks and passing on some potential free agents as being too expensive, you know those penalties are having an impact.

    IMO, with the new rules governing the draft that just got put in place this last year and a considerably more difficult salary ‘cap’ to deal with, hitting big on minor league player development has become more important than ever.

    That’s why I think what the Cubs did with moving their Low A team from Peoria to Kane County is so fascinating on a number of different levels.

  31. - Madison - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 3:23 pm:

    Our motto:”working day and nite since 1907″
    Shoulda shot that goat when we had the chance.

  32. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 3:25 pm:

    JD, virtually all MLB players spend some time in the minors, but they’re not the long-term developmental leagues that they used to be.

    For 30 years or so, the colleges have been increasingly serving as the developmental league — as they are in football — and that’s reflected in the draft.

    That excludes other developmental systems in the Dominican Republic and other places in Latin America, which also have taken on more importance.

  33. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 3:28 pm:

    JD, speaking of moving minor league teams, I keep waiting for Ricketts to move the Iowa Cubs from Des Moines to Omaha, just two hours west. They’ve got the TD Ameritrade ball park sitting there like a brand new white elephant that only gets used during the College World Series. It’s a first rate stadium and Omaha is only an hour away from Chicago by air.

    The Royals’ AAA team plays in nearby Sarpy County(having vacated Rosenblatt), but maybe Des Moines would throw a little something to them and lure them into the Cubs old home.

    I should also mention that my in-laws are in Omaha and if I’m going to have to watch AAA talent, I’d rather pay AAA ticket prices for the next few years.

  34. - Judgment Day - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 3:45 pm:

    Word, using the colleges as more of an alternative development league is what was partially behind the changes to the MLB draft with their ’slotting’ process. Jury is still out on this grand experiment, as the goal is to have considerably fewer draftees directly out of high school, and more (mostly) all junior/senior college draftees.

    The interesting point is that one byproduct of doing this is that it drastically limits the option of super agents like Scott Boras. Here’s his take on the ‘new’ MLB draft changes (Hint: He doesn’t like it).

    47th Ward, kind of doubt the Iowa Cubs are going anywhere. Iowa has really come through for the Cubs, and that’s a nice, modern stadium.

    There’s a whole lot of talk about the Cubs relocating their Daytona (High A) affiliate out to a different location, as the weather just about makes it impossible. At one point this last year, they went like 8 days straight with rainouts each day. So they are likely to move from Daytona.

  35. - pardon - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 4:52 pm:

    odds on the rickets’ still being owners in 5 years?

  36. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 5:02 pm:

    ===Iowa has really come through for the Cubs, and that’s a nice, modern stadium===

    But is it named for the company Joe Ricketts founded, like the brand new stadium in the Ricketts’ home town? In the business world, that’s called synergy. Don’t be surprised too see the Cubs move west JD.

  37. - Judgment Day - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 5:14 pm:

    “odds on the rickets’ still being owners in 5 years?”

    Unless something really bad happens to TD Ameritrade and the family fortune, odds are probably pretty high they will still be running the Cubs.

  38. - Judgment Day - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 5:22 pm:


    I’d be surprised. I could see them doing a partial season schedule split between the two stadiums (assuming MLB buys in), because the distance between both communities is only about 135-140 miles.

    Btw, “synergy” is a much overused and overhyped word,particularly in the business world. I’m not sure the Ricketts will totally buy into the concept, as they have likely seen a few too many business ventures blow up thanks to “synergy”.

  39. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Oct 11, 12 @ 5:38 pm:

    Sure, synergy is overused and you’re 100% right that MLB needs to sign-off on it. But how many airlines offer daily flights between Des Moines and Chicago v. Omaha and Chicago? Which market is bigger? How many modern but empty stadiums does TD Ameritrade own naming rights to? Iowa may have been good to the Cubs, but Omaha has been very, very good to the Ricketts family.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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